So Much Paperwork!
When embarking on the journey of buying or selling a house the amount of paperwork we ask you to fill out can be daunting.

The first document we ask you to sign, even before you have decided whether or not you want to work with us, is Know Your Options as a Real Estate Consumer. This document is for your information and benefit. It outlines why working with a real estate professional helps and protects you as the consumer and what being unrepresented means for you. We are required to fill this out, even if you decide not to work with us or be unrepresented.

If you decide to work with an agent, whether your a buyer or a seller, we then help you fill out a Privacy Notice and Consent document and a FINTRAC- Individual Identification Information Record form, to prove your identity. These are for your protection.

According to a report by CBC News, more than $5 billion in dirty money was laundered through real estate deals in BC in 2018.

In an effort to combat money laundering in BC, the Real Estate Council of BC has now made it mandatory for all realtors, to pass an Anti-money Laundering Course. This course enables agents to be able to identify signs of money laundering and flag suspicious transactions. It is to help us protect you, our clients. It will also help ensure that buyer and sellers of real estate are better protected from the negative impacts of money laundering in the future.

If you are a property owner who is selling there are many more documents a real estate professional will help you fill out. If you are a buyer it is in your interest to sign a Buyer’s Agency Exclusive Contract because it outlines exactly what your realtor will do for you.

So please don’t get frustrated with us for asking you to fill out all the documentation, realtors are here to help you through the process and protect your interests, as buying and selling a home is a huge undertaking.

Sustainable Counter Top Materials
Are you thinking about renovating your kitchen or bathroom? If so you might be interested in these materials, manufactured with sustainability and health in mind.

Sintered Stone

How it’s made: Sintered stone is created by taking natural minerals and exposing them to extremely high pressure and heat. It is non-porous, producing resistants to stains, mould and bacteria; making it easy to clean and maintain. It is 100% recyclable, colour stable, free of resins and petroleum derivatives.

Durability: Sintered stone is durable, waterproof and long lasting. It is resistant to heat, scratching, acids, alkalies, fire, frost and UV rays.

Where you can use it: Sintered stone is very versatile; it can be used indoors or outdoors, for kitchen and bathroom counters, internal or external cladding, interior flooring or external paving, stairs, and ventilated facades.

Look and feel: The countertop material is predominantly solid and neutral in colour. It comes in 9 finishes and a range of colours. The finishes range from smooth to rugged (like natural stone). It works with a variety of design styles.

Care and maintenance: It has an antibacterial, anti-fungal surface. Cleaning is as simple as soap and water. No sealing or special cleaning products are required.

Sizing/Producers: Lapitec, an Italian brand, was the first to produce a sintered stone slab. Their product comes in many colours and sizes.

Altrock Solid Surface

How it’s made: Altrock is a solid surface made with recycled marble dust, chips, and chunks which are then mixed and bonded with resin and pigment. It is sealed with a wax oil, creating a durable, waterproof and stain resistant surface. The slabs are custom made and cast by hand in all shapes and sizes.

Durability: It is a durable, waterproof, stain and heat resistant surface.

Where you can use it: Altrock can be used for kitchen and bathroom counters, flooring, and dining or coffee tables.

Look and feel: It can be made in a wide range of colors. The colour can be customized to match your palette. However, since the marble is reclaimed, some colors are rarer and subject to availability.

Care and maintenance: Altrock should be cared for like marble. Acidic spills, like lemon juice should be wiped up promptly. Use soapy water to clean; no bleach. The sealant is grease-and stain-resistant.

Durat Solid Surface

How it’s made: Durat is a polyester based solid surface which contains 30% recycled materials. The recycled post-industrial waste is granulated giving this this product its distinctive texture and look. It is a 100% recyclable and is tested not to omit any VOCs and is classified as an M1 low emissions building material.

Durability: Durat solid surface is resistant to wear, heat, humidity and various kinds of chemicals. Scratches and other marks can be removed with a quick polish. Deeper scratches can be lightly sanded, and cracks can be filled to make the surface look like new.

Where you can use it: It can be used to create large seamless surfaces. It can also be used to fabricate custom sinks, bathtubs, shower bases, backsplashes, shelves, tables and benches.

Look and feel: Durat has more than 300 colours, 7 different textures as well as different coloured speckles. Custom colours are available. It is suitable for modern and minimalist aesthetics or can introduce a bold element into a design.

Care and maintenance: Surfaces should be cleaned with mild soap. Normal cleaning cloths and coarse sponges can be used.

IceStone Recycled Glass Countertops

How it’s made: IceStone is a recycled glass surface made of 100% recycled glass, Portland cement and non-toxic pigments. The manufacturer is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Durability: While it is strong, it is not as durable as previous materials. Acids and alkaline cleaning products will etch it.

Where you can use it: It can be used for Kitchen and bathroom countertops, backsplashes, table tops, and fireplace surrounds.

Look and feel:  It is available in 17 colours.

Care and maintenance: IceStone is porous and must be periodically sealed. Spills of coffee, wine, fruit juice and other acidic liquid should be wiped immediately with a damp cloth. Clean with a damp cloth.

Richlite Paper Countertops

Paper you say? What?

How it’s made: Richlite is paper that has been hyper-compressed and blended with phenolic resin; giving it extra durability and water resistance. It is made with 65% cerified recycled paper and 35% resin, resulting in a solid, stable material.

Durability:  It works similar to a dense hardwood, is water-resistant, heat and fire resistant and has low moisture absorption. High-alkaline fruits or vegetables, cleaners and soaps left on the surface may stain it. It will show scratches and patina over time. However, the scratches can be sanded and the material can be resealed to restore its smooth finish.

Where you can use it: In addition to kitchen counters, it can be used for bathroom counters, for cabinetry and to make furnishings. It can also be used for wall panels, baseboards, moulding, trim, shelving, doors and stair treads.

Look and feel: Richlite has 17 colours and 3 finishes: Milled, leathered or honed. It well-suited for contemporary, modern, industrial and eclectic designs.

Care and maintenance: Wipe surfaces with warm water, mild soap and a soft cloth. Avoid bleach and abrasive cleaners and cloths, as these may scratch the surface. To lighten stains, apply plain yogurt, leave overnight, and wipe away in the mornings. Repeat as necessary.


Simple Ways To Make Your Move Less Stressful
Moving is a highly stressful event. Often people feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks they have to do: scheduling home inspections, decluttering and donating, packing, staging, yard cleanup etcetera. If you are expecting to move in the near future- even if your not sure when that might be- here are a few things you can do to help relieve some of the stress.

Find Out The True Value of Your Valuables
Often people cling to items they think might be worth something: antique furniture, artwork, stamps, coins, sports memorabilia, old books, vintage jewelry and other types of collectibles. These items may have been inherited, purchased, or saved from childhood. Some people want to part with these things, but become worried that they might be giving away a priceless heirloom. If your new home is smaller, it may not be practical to keep all these items. And, sometimes it’s jut time to let go of something you no longer need or want.

To help make letting go easier, get a quick estimate of the object’s value. You may find that it is worth less than you thought, making it easier for you to part with.
◦ Research similar pieces for sale on Craigslist, eBay or Facebook. If you see something languishing unsold for a long time, it’s probably overpriced.
◦ Consult with a local consignment shop. Resale shops have firsthand knowledge of what’s selling and what’s not. You can simply text or email a photo, saving you a trip to the store.
◦ Pay for a professional appraisal or consult with an auction house.

Return Things That Don’t Belong to You
Sometimes we have things in our homes that don’t belong to us, like borrowed books, scarves, jackets, or serving dishes left behind after a party. Start a box for these items, so you can return them the next time you see the owners.

You might also be storing some of your adult children’s belongings. They may be hesitant to reclaim these items, especially, if they live out of the area or don’t have adequate storage in their homes. Let your kids know of your plan to move and have them remove their things in a timely manner, rent a storage locker, or allow you to donate everything to charity.

Clear Out Unused Arts and Crafts Supplies
Many of us hold on to unused arts and crafts supplies: fabric remnants, sewing notions, yarn, scrapbooking and card-making materials, jewelry-making supplies. We also have partially finished projects lying around, that realistically we will probably never complete.
Arts and crafts supplies are expensive, so if you’re motivated, you might be able to sell them. You might also consider donating them to a thrift shop, women’s shelter or rehabilitation centre near you. Packaging the supplies in bags or containers and labeling them is helpful.

Donate/Sell Unused Sports Equipment
Moving is a great time to examine your sports gear and identify what you haven’t used in years. Unused golf clubs, ice hockey gear, camping equipment, kayaks, etcetera can take up a lot of storage space. If you’re unlikely to use the items again, it is time to let them go. If your equipment is in good condition, you might be able to sell it or you can donate it to a local youth program or other charity.

Review Your Party Supplies
Assess your party supplies. Do you have only a handful of leftover plates, napkins and decor, but not enough for another party? Use them yourself, so they don’t go to waste or donate them. Think about the type of entertaining you will be doing in your new space. If you no longer have a back yard, let go of your outdoor supplies. If you have too many serving dishes, maybe it’s time to select only the best.

Cull Your Old Electronics
Who doesn’t have old cellphones, laptops, tablets, printers and televisions- including their boxes- taking up prime storage space. Electronic devices contain toxic chemicals that can leak into groundwater and soil; therefore, take these items to your local recycling centre or see if the manufacturer has a recycling program. There may or may not be a small fee for recycling them. If they are in working order you could donate them to a local charity. Make sure you take off all personal information, photos, files etcetera and wipe the device before recycling or donating it.

Unpack Boxes From Your Last Move
Do you have unopened boxes from your last move? It’s time to dig in and find out what’s actually inside them. You might uncover a long-lost treasure - or you might find you’re ready to donate or toss what is inside. For the items you are going to keep, repack and label the box clearly. After you move, make sure you unpack these boxes.
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